DuBOIS — The Elk County Catholic girls basketball team rallied from an early 12-point deficit to spoil DuBois’ Senior Night festivities with a 47-44 come-from-behind victory that completed a season sweep of the Lady Beavers.
DuBois (10-11), which honored seniors Chelsea DeSalve and Maddie Smith prior to the game, came out firing on all cylinders in the first 10 minutes or so.
The Lady Beavers raced out to a 17-5 lead after one quarter, then withstood an initial surge by ECC in the second that cut the lead to six (19-13) before DuBois ran back out to a 14-point lead at 27-13 late in the quarter.
However, a 6-0 spurt by ECC in the final 30 seconds on a 3-pointer by Taylor Newton and an old-fashion 3-point play by Morgan Wolf cut the Lady Crusaders’ halftime deficit to eight at 27-19.
Elk County carried that momentum into the second half, using an 11-3 run to open the third quarter to pull even at 30-30 just before the midway point of the period. Lady Crusaders hit three straight 3-pointers (Sady VanAlstine, Maddie Kear and Julia Aikens) in the run.
Another three by VanAlstine gave ECC its first lead of the game at 33-32 with 2:43 left in the third, but DuBois got five straight points by Olivia Johnson in the final minute-plus to regain the lead, 37-34, after three quarters.
Both teams struggled to score early in the fourth until VanAlstine drained her third 3-pointer of the night to even the score again at 39-39 with 4:20 to play. That proved to be ECC’s lone field goal of the quarter. The Lady Crusaders hit five of their seven 3-pointers in the second half.
Elk County lost Kear to an injury moments later, but the Lady Crusaders overcame that loss by hitting enough free throws down the stretch despite shooting just 56 perfect at the line in the fourth.
Unfortunately for DuBois, it sent ECC to the stripe 18 times in the final quarter, with ECC making 10 to seal the victory. VanAlstine was a perfect 4-for-4 in the fourth, while Newton went 4-for-8. Elk County was 16 of 29 at the line overall compared to just 8 of 11 for DuBois.
Those 10 free throws proved to be enough as ECC held DuBois to just two baskets in fourth — a 3-pointer and 2-pointer by DeSalve in the final 39 seconds once the Lady Crusaders had built a six-point lead at 44-39.
Newton and VanAlstine fueled the ECC comeback. Newton scored a game-high 15 points and pulled down 12 rebounds, while VanAlstine had 13 points.
“I thought we came our pretty flat tonight after a game last night,” said ECC coach Ken Pistner. “Their zone gave us a little bit of a problem early and they were doing a good job matching up with Taylor (Newton) on the inside. We had to figure some things out there and made a couple adjustments.
“I’m really happy with the win DuBois is a solid basketball team. Early on their physicalness had a lot to do with their success, but I thought we played a little tougher in the second half and rebounded better.
“I also was happy how when we got down early we kept our composure and everybody did their role and didn’t panic and try to take things into their own hands. We were patient and our defense in the second half was much better.
“We’re looking forward to the playoffs now.”
DuBois wasted little time jumping on the Lady Crusaders to start the game. Abby Guiher opened the scoring with a 3-pointer, while Smith scored off a steal to make it 5-0.
Newton countered with a hoop, but it only momentarily slowed down the Lady Beavers who went on a 12-3 run from there to build its 12-point lead after one quarter.
Guiher, Smith and Saige Weible all four points in the first for DuBois, while Newton had four for ECC.
Elk County’s Julia Aikens and Weible traded scores to start the second quarter before ECC ripped off six straight points to get within six points at 19-13. Kear scored five of those points — on a layup and 3-pointer following a pair of DuBois turnovers.
DuBois responded with an 8-0 spurt — six by DeSalve — to quickly push its lead back out to 14 at 27-13 before the Lady Crusaders’ spurt to end the half set the stage for its second half comeback and second win of the season against the Lady Beavers. Elk County also won at home, 53-40, back on Dec. 19.
DeSalve led DuBois with 14 points on her Senior Night, while fellow senior Smith had eight. Weible and Johnson also scored eight for DuBois.
“We played really well for the first 10 or 12 minutes and still had the lead at the half,” said DuBois coach Keith Kriner. “But, we came out in the second half and our girls started pressing instead of just doing what we had been doing in the first half when we were relaxed and comfortable with the ball.
“Then the turnover bug hit us again, and we let them get some open looks from three. We tried to chmnage some things up (defensively) because Newton is an outstanding player. We didn’t account for her as much as we should have.
“We wanted to send the senior off with a win. You always want to, but we have trouble finishing games and I don’t know what it is. Some of it youth because we have some younger girls. All-in-all though, I thought we played a good game and have played some good, close games all year that we’ve just come up on the short end of.”
DuBois won the junior varsity game 31-23 to improve to 14-7 on the season. Sarah Henninger and Izzy Geist-Salone each scored six points to lead the Lady Beavers.
Elk County finished the regular season at 11-11 and now await its opponent for next week’s District 9 Class A playoffs.
DuBois (10-11) closes out its regular season tonight at Brookville. The fourth-seeded Lady Beavers host fifth-seeded Bellefonte Monday in a District 6-8-9 Class 5A quarterfinal game. The winner gets top-seeded Hollidaysburg in Thursday’s semifinals.